Specialties

I specialize in several different areas, including, but not limited to, those listed below. Be sure to check out my class schedule, too.

Schedule a private training session, sign up for a class or book your puppy at PupStart now!

“Diana is that rare breed of trainer who can connect with dogs and people. Not everyone we have worked with over 35 or so years of owning dogs has the ability to do that. She does an exceptional job of ‘shaping behavior’ so teaching is broken down into a sequential process. We have found working with Diana to be instructive and fun. We've had a number of dogs and always trained them well, but Diana has taught us how to think outside the box and do even more with our dog than we ever imagined we could do.” Steve & Joyce Bell, Yarmouth

Fear/Anxiety

GOT FEAR?

Do you have a “shy” or anxious dog, a dog who is fearful of strangers, new experiences, things or environments? “Fear is very sticky” and can be a challenge to overcome. If you live with a fearful dog, you know how stressful it is - for the dogs and humans involved. I want to help you help your dog and would like to share with you some of my very successful methods. Don’t wait - fear doesn’t tend to go away on its own. A careful, thoughtful, positive approach is key.

Foundations/Puppy

Did you know that your dog already knows how to do everything you want him to do? Think about it… you’ve seen him sit, lie down, stay, look at you…. the challenge is in how to communicate these things to your dog when you’d like him to do them.

A Foundations - or “Manners” - class will teach you how to communicate with your dog in a way that he understands, resulting in efficient, mutually-rewarding training. Focus is on focus - how to positively condition your dog to be attentive to you. Eye contact, self-control exercises, management, sit, down, loose leash walking, come.. and more… are common topics in a foundations class.

Puppy class down-stay

Private and semi-private lessons are also available.

PupStart! A Day School for Puppies

A learning day school just for puppies up to 6 months old and 25 pounds. $50 for the day ($40 for the first day).

puppy plays with toy

PupStart isn't your ordinary day care: it's specifically tailored to the needs of young puppies and is where your puppy gets a jump-start on important skills such as focus, impulse control, attention, "the basics" such as sit, down, stay - all integrated into fun and games. Your puppy will interact in a managed, safe and vibrant environment with other young dogs his age. This is not a replacement for a puppy class, but is a fantastic way to get those good habits established and prevent bad ones from taking hold. 10 puppies maximum on any given day.

Monday - Wednesday from 8-5. $40 for your puppy's first day! Regular fee is $50 for the day. Hours are 8AM to 5PM but drop off and pick up times are flexible.

PupStart Requirements:

  • puppy is no more than 25#
  • puppy is under 6 months of age
  • puppy has had a clean fecal test within 3 weeks or has been on a dewormer in the last 3 weeks
  • puppy has had first set of core vaccinations (kennel cough not required)
  • the registration form and waiver are completed (links below)
  • the sign-up must be done on-line

All about PupStart 

PupStart Registration Form

PupStart Waiver

Payment

Cash or check. $40 for your puppy's first day. $50 regular fee.

PupStart Cancellation Policy

There are frequently more than ten puppies enrolled in the PupStart program but there is only room for 10 per day, so registrations are first-come, first-served. Please be sure to make changes well in advance of the days you book in order to give others the time to sign up. If you have to cancel or reschedule, do it 24 hours or more in advance. The only exceptions are for regular (10 or more PupStart days) clients with extenuating circumstances.

Note: you can cancel on-line 24 hours or more prior to the appointment.

No charge/full refund if you cancel 24 hours or more prior to your scheduled appointment.

 

$40 charge if you cancel within 24 hours of an appointment (you must contact me via e-mail to cancel within the 24 hour window).

Cooper practices leash walkingpuppies talk

RallyFree and Canine Musical Freestyle

Canine Musical Freestyle Routine to "King of the Road"

RallyFree Elements combines the freedom of freestyle, the joy of tricks and movement and the foundation of solid "obedience" behaviors. It's a wonderful way to get on the right paw before embarking on Freestyle.

Canine Musical Freestyle: The ULTIMATE in dog training.

Tricks + Communication + Movement + Creativity + Music + FUN = Freestyle

Freestyle is the perfect blend of all of the above and there’s no end to what is possible. Freestyle is FREEDOM of movement. Side passing, backing up, spinning, weaving, close heeling, directional changes, jumping…. these are but a few movements in Canine Freestyle. If you are like me, you aren’t skilled at dancing, but if your dog is like most dogs, he’s a talented dancer and will relish what freestyle has to offer.

Canine Musical Freestyle Routine to "King of the Road"

Canine Freestyle highlights the strengths and abilities of the individual dog. Precise communication is developed and learning freestyle is a great way to hone your dog training skills…and for your dog to become the super well-rounded and physically conditioned athlete he knows he can be! Tricks and freestyle movements can offer fantastic physical therapy to dogs.

Please visit my Clickerdoodles You Tube channel to see me in action. Your dog can learn this stuff, too! I offer workshops and clinics on freestyle moves in Southern Maine for all levels.

I am a founding member of Dancing Paws, Maine’s first canine freestyle club. Visit us at Dancing Paws: Maine's Canine Freestylers on Facebook or write dancingpawsmaine@gmail.com

Handling

We cannot properly care for our dogs if we cannot easily handle them.

Is your dog a difficult patient at the groomer’s? Is it “impossible” to trim his nails? Is he unmanageable when you want to give him a bath or hard to handle when you want to do any handling of his body, legs or feet?

It doesn’t have to be this way. If your dog currently has to be held down or restrained against his will in order to be handled, the path will just get more difficult with each negative experience he has. His trust will corrode and that can have long-term effects. It’s not too late to change course and help change your dog’s mind about being handled. But don’t delay… the longer you wait, the harder it will get.

You will probably think I’m twisted when I tell you that I LOVE to trim dogs’ nails. It’s the ultimate expression of trust when a dog willingly allows his nails to be trimmed, teeth to be scraped, ears examined, etc. Here at “Camp Logan” our dogs consider nail trimming, bathing, grooming and full-body clipping to be competitive sports: whichever dog is there first gets to go first! It’s only with positive reinforcement that you can achieve this deep trust and bond.

Horses & Other Species

White horse and dog

The rules of psychology are like the rules of gravity - nobody is immune from them! Clicker training and Positive Reinforcement Training apply to all species. I had a horse for 30 years and love working with them - for stable manners, handling, fun and games, positive loading and more. I have also worked with Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs, a chicken, rabbits and a goat. If I had goldfish, I’d definitely train them in agility (check out Fish School)! But alas, sometimes we can’t do everything, so the fish will have to wait a while… In any case, I welcome the opportunity to work with other companion animals.

Kids & Dogs

What a perfect combo!! Or is it…..?

Disney has brainwashed us into believing their fairy tales - kids and dogs equals an idyllic match. Reality tells us otherwise. Kids and dogs frequently mis-communicate and things can - and do - go terribly wrong. We’ve all heard the horror stories. If you have a child and are planning to get a dog, if you have a dog and are expecting a child or if you already have both and want to improve relations, there’s a lot to learn. Visit my resources page for some helpful links or better yet, call me to set up a private session. If we invite our kids to be part of the training process, they’ll gain valuable life skills.

“I love working with Diana. She made training fun for me and inspired me to do more. She taught me all about “dog body language” and what the different signs mean. For example, a dog will present the part of their body that he wants to be rubbed. She also taught me about positive handling; the everyday importance of it and that it creates a deeper bond between the owner and dog. My favorite thing is the great tips she has given me on positive reinforcement training and dog tricks." 12 year old Julia of Cape Elizabeth. Julia is now applying what she has learned to her cat Whisker, whom she is clicker training

Off-leash Adventures

Dogs can only get proper exercise and socialization when they are able to move freely and satisfy their canine needs. I can help you work towards this freedom in a safe, managed way. “A Tired Dog is a Good Dog” is absolutely true. Lack of proper exercise, mental or physical, is often the underlying reason why our dogs develop behavioral problems, and behavioral problems are the biggest reason why dogs end up in shelters. Keep that dog exercised… for his own good, and yours!

I do midday off-leash dog walks in the Yarmouth area on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tricks

Life is a Box of Tricks.

Help your Dog be all that he can BE.

Dogs are brilliant. Brilliant at problem solving and experimentation. Teaching tricks teaches you how to become a better trainer and to get to know your dog better. Teaching tricks teaches your dog how to learn and think in complex ways... and to get to know you better. Teaching tricks builds confidence, muscles, flexibility, coordination, stamina, balance and emotional bonds. Teaching tricks teaches a dog to learn to use his body in different ways and be conscious of his own behavior in truly amazing detail. Everything your dog needs to know, whether it’s obedience work, agility, learning to overcome fears or learning plain good pet dog manners, he can learn through tricks. We tend to approach “obedience” work very seriously and tricks training with a sense of humor, but from a dog’s perspective there should be no difference between “work” and play.

“My spouse signed me up for “tricks training”, so I was skeptical about the value of such at first. Aren’t the basic sit-down-stay-come-heel commands sufficient? However, I learned that besides providing my dog and me with a source of bonding and fun, tricks training provides mental exercise and behaviors that carry over into the sit-down-stay-come-heel world. I’m diligent about my dog’s physical training, and I learned to be equally vigilant about her mental training. Like most dogs, mine is smart and playful, and tricks training channels these two traits into the development of a happier, more well-rounded dog who relates to people and her environment in positive ways. And we really did have fun!” Mark Mersereau with “Sadie,” Cape Elizabeth

Party Tricks!!

The Party Animals

Do you want to offer your guests something a bit different at your next party? Do you have a kid’s party or a club or office meeting or get-together that needs a bit of PIZAZZ? Invite us, The Party Animals, and we’ll entertain you with some fun dog tricks! If you have kids, I toss in some education for good measure. If you have a dog, I can help you teach your dog some simple tricks. I can help people who might be fearful of dogs play fun and safe games. $90 for 30-45 minutes of unique entertainment are yours.

Tricks Training for Television and Wrangling Services

I can find the right dog with the right stuff to fill your acting needs!

Whether you need a dog for your next play, for a commercial bit or to feature in print, I can help find and train your canine actor. Here's an example of a recent television ad I was involved with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvMiMQLrdLM